Iron nanomaterials are of considerable interest for application to nanotechnology-related fields including environmental catalysis, biomedical imaging, drug delivery and hyperthermia, because of their superparamagnetic characteristics and high catalytic abilities. However, information about potential risks of iron nanomaterials is limited. The present study assessed pulmonary responses to a single intratracheal spray instillation of triiron tetraoxide nanoparticles (magnetite) in rats. Ten-week-old male and female Fischer 344 rats (n=5/group) were exposed to a single intratracheal spray instillation of 0 (vehicle), 5.0, 15.0 or 45.0 mg/kg body weight (BW) of magnetite. After 14 days, the rats were sacrificed, and biological consequences were investigated. The lung weights of the 15.0 and 45.0 mg/kg BW male and female groups were significantly higher than those of the control groups. The lungs of treated rats showed enlargement and black patches originating from the color of magnetite. The typical histopathological changes in the lungs of the treated rats included infiltration of macrophages phagocytosing magnetite, inflammatory cell infiltration, granuloma formation and an increase of goblet cells in the bronchial epithelium. The results clearly show that instilled magnetite causes foreign body inflammatory and granulating lesions in the lung. These pulmonary responses occur in a dose-dependent manner in association with the increase in lung weight.